It has always been my theory. I even believe its implementation has been a critical component of my success as a coach.
What is my theory? Don’t do better.
When I was laying out my annual plans for Alexander Belludu and Jennifer Hill, there were about 30 days in the snow between the end of the season and the start of the next season. During this time, the other skaters were doing more than three times as much.
Alex wasn’t even a World Cup when he started following that plan with a much smaller size than skating, so he wasn’t a champion yet.
The idea is to spend more time on physical training and, above all, skip your sport. This is a key that many coaches forget in my opinion. The passion that makes every day we spend our sport become more productive.
Think about your favorite meal. Now imagine that for 10 or 11 months in the next year, you will have to eat that meal every night. Skiing, snowboarding, swimming, and cycling, whatever our passion, doing it 10-11 months a year inevitably becomes like that meal, which we end up eating just because we should be eating. The passion is no longer there.
A lot of the behind-the-scenes sports are feeling a little anxious about Canada’s performance in Tokyo because other countries had fewer restrictions. For some sports in some countries, nothing has changed in training. Australians swim more than us. The countries of Eastern Europe have fought more than we have suffered. The Chinese and the Russians have done everything more than us.
What if this lack of access to our sport became an advantage, even the key to success?
We just tested it with our speed skaters in the Netherlands. They have had extraordinary success despite actually not being able to make it into the Calgary ring since the start of the pandemic. Athletes on the long track had to find solutions, they trained in other ways. And when they got to the Heerenveen ring, they performed each stroke with passion.
There are also physical benefits in this forced rest. We avoid overtraining, which is a real pain, especially during the Olympic year. The wear injuries associated with this overtraining are also reduced. So when an athlete enters the competition, he is renewed and available, they say. Costs in material terms and available for the psyche. These are the two main ingredients of the winning recipe, in my opinion.
If I haven’t reassured the athletes and coaches in Tokyo yet, I would tell them to consider an athlete who returned from a serious injury 10 or 12 months after
Forced rest The rest of the world continued to train optimally, unlike what the rest of the world is now experiencing. I am sure this athlete is back in competition with strength, if not stronger. How do we explain this? I have a small idea … to do less, to do better!
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